Fishing quotas displease French fleet


Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
December 27, 2009

 France's fishing fleet is taking a dim view on the fishing quotas hammered out by fisheries ministers at this month's European Council meeting.

"The decisions taken in Brussels will seriously compromise the stability of many French fisheries, already suffering for several years," said French fishermen through a statement issued by the National Maritime Fisheries Committee of France (CNPMEM).

"The total allowable catches decided in Brussels will blow hot and cold over the French fishing industry," added the industry group.

At a 14 to 15 December European Council meeting, EU ministers met to thrash out and set in ink Europe's 2010 fishing quotas. Each year, members of the bloc hammer out the fishing opportunities — the fishing quotas and the allowable fishing effort — for European fishermen and in European waters. These decisions are made on the basis of a proposal from the European Commission, this year presented in mid-October.

Meeting in Brussels, ministers reduced quotas for haddock and other key catches in 2010, covering waters in the Atlantic, the North Sea and the English Channel.

Fisheries ministers inked out reductions, compared to 2009, of 25 percent for haddock off western Scotland and 20 percent for sole in the eastern channel. They also called for cuts of between 15 percent and 35 percent for cod in different areas, with the exception of west Scotland and the Celtic Sea (between Cornwall and Brittany).

"The total allowable catch (TAC) of sole in the eastern channel has dropped by 20 percent, even though the same drop was applied in 2009," criticized the CNPMEM. And commenting on the 5 percent TAC reduction for langoustine in the Gulf of Gascogne, the group said this sent a "negative signal" to the fishery.

But the reopening of the anchovy fishery in the Bay of Biscay, which was closed for five years, represented a bright spot for CNPMEM, said the group.

The council agreed to allow for an anchovy fishery of 7,000 metric tons, beginning in January 2010, on the understanding by the EC that "this figure will change to reflect the outcome of scientific advice in the spring."

One new aspect of the EU fisheries policy in 2010 is that vessels receive a 5 percent larger catch if they install CCTV cameras to keep track of conservation measures.

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